The International Society of Psychiatric Genetics has issued revised guidelines for the use of genetic testing in psychiatric care. The new guidelines, which represent the first complete revision since 2014, address several controversial questions, including the use of genetic testing for diagnosis of mental illness and to guide treatment decisions.
The current guidelines are the first to be issued since the advent of widespread chromosomal testing for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The guidelines also address emerging issues raised by growing interest in direct-to-consumer tests and by aggressive marketing of commercial genetic testing panels that purport to help doctors select safer and more effective medicines for psychiatric patients.
The committee concluded that direct-to-consumer genetic testing provided no health benefits to psychiatric patients. It further stated that genetic test results must be safeguarded against unauthorised disclosure, and that there is a need for more genetic education for mental health professionals.
Although genetic testing for copy number variants (CNVs) is now widely used in children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, the committee failed to reach consensus on CNV testing in most adults with mental illness.
The group said more research is needed to clarify the appropriate role of genetic testing in psychiatric care.